Herbalism n. The knowledge or practice of healing with plants.

We are all herbalists! We have just forgotten some of the knowledge and have moved away from practicing the art of medicine making. But we can begin to remember and we can use this medicine that is so available to us everyday.

Do you know that there is medicine in the weeds in your garden as well as in the wildflowers growing here and there? When you prepare that lovely cup of calming chamomile tea to settle your nerves or place salts and fresh herbs in your bath to sooth your muscles, you are practicing herbalism! Open your eyes and your mind to the magic of herbal medicine that lies just outside your door.

Getting in touch with the very natural use of herbs may be the most rewarding adventure you will ever take. One thing for sure, you will see the world differently and you will know that everything is connected and that there is intention and purpose in the smallest wildflower or the simplest weed. If you feel passionate about working with plants, you will definitely discover the magic that unfolds with each and every one you begin to learn about. From the rare and exotic to the common, up through the cracks in the sidewalk dandelion or plantain, the magic and wonder are present.

learn about herbalism

To quote Olga Kuthanová’s translation of Dr. Frantisek Stary and Dr. Vaclav Jirasek,

“[People have] has sought out plants with medicinal properties since time immemorial. Evidence of this are the-thousand-year-old traditions and records of popular healing. Even in this age of great development and progress in the fields of chemistry [and] pharmaceutics, … plants have lost none of their importance.”

Herbalism, sometimes known as botanical medicine, is the oldest form of medicine. It is also the most widely practiced healing modality in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Throughout history, people of all cultures have practiced some system of herbal medicine, and the modern pharmaceutical industry continues to rely heavily on plant medicine as the basis for many medications. Elephants sometimes trek 17 miles in a day to find a borage tree to prepare them for giving birth. People have observed tortoises, goats, chimpanzees, and rhinos making use of medicinal plants as well.]

For some plants, a particular plant part (such as the roots or flowers) may be particularly helpful for healing. For others it is the whole plant. As herbalists, we seek to maintain or restore a sense of wholeness, vibrancy, and dynamic balance. We use some herbs as nutritious foods, others as healing tonics, and others to treat specific illness or symptoms. When addressing illness we aim to restore wholeness, address the symptoms, and treat the root causes of the disease while nurturing the whole person. Herbs can relieve pain, bolster (or even jump-start) the immune system, reduce inflammation, release a fever, relax bronchial muscles, enhance blood circulation, retard the tumor growth, nourish sexual desire, and address many other imbalances. Plants talk to us at all levels, molecule to molecule and spirit to spirit. They facilitate healing that is potent, profound, and life-affirming.

You can read more about becoming an herbalist here!